Once upon a time there was a young girl. She was naive and impressionable. But she was quite bright so landed herself a place at university.
Her parents warned her about all the evils she would face. Drugs, sex, although they forget to mention rock and roll.
They filled her head with so much fear that she went to sleep at night worrying what would happen to her in this strange new university life.
Not much actually. It was all perfectly civilised, apart from one man in the park. University hall of residence was in a rather nice green part of the city and the walk to class involved a nice jaunt across the park, although most of my idle friends got the bus or paid for a lift with rich car-owners.
So, there I was happily walking across the park when a dog, maybe an Alsatian, (I don’t know why I thought it was an Alsatian) came up and sniffed my arse. Not being frightened of dogs, I didn’t bat an eyelid. Until I turned round and saw a man running off and not a dog, Alsatian or otherwise, in sight.
He was short, dark-haired, and maybe slightly oriental. I freaked, and turned up in class shaking.
After the lecture I went to the pub and downed a couple of swift whiskies, frightened of what might have happened, not what did. Because the truth was, there was no-one around apart from me and him as I had walked happily across the green open space.
One night, our naive student went to a nightclub with half a dozen friends. The nightclub was not in the best area of the city. In fact, it was in what was later to be part of the city’s riot area. Immigrants, prostitutes, drugs, and plenty of violent crime.
When she collected her coat, she noticed the belt was missing from her lovely green velvet jacket. She told her friends and went back to ask if the cloakroom staff could find it. They couldn’t.
By the time she came out of the club, her ‘friends’ had disappeared. She turned around and the club had shut up. There were no more taxis. She was alone in one of the worst areas of the city and had a couple of miles to walk to get back to hall of residence. There were no mobile ‘phones back in the 70s.
So she walked. There wasn’t a lot of choice really.
In fact she saw hardly anyone. Nor did anyone approach her, unlike the previous daylight park incident. But fear? At 2-3am in an inner city slum area? Oh yes.
But did I put myself in the way of trouble? I don’t think so.
What about my so-called friends? I resolved to have nothing to do with them after we left university because quite clearly they didn’t give a shit about me. I had the rest of my course to complete and it would have been too difficult to cut everyone off before that so I kept up the so-called friendships. No-one knew or seemed to care about how frightened I had been that night.
Like everyone I’m hypocritical. I exempted two of those friends because they were a couple – the rest of us were single – and I didn’t want to cut them off. I’m still in contact with them now. But they were just as callous as all the others and had no interest in how I got home safely.
Bastards. All of them.